Federal Investigation Targets Sale Of Fake Merchandise 9/6/13
CBS 7 News
September 6, 2013
ODESSA-A yearlong federal investigation ends at an Odessa mall, landing three people in federal custody for selling counterfeit merchandise, as the FBI targets the sale of fake items right here in the basin.
Federal agents seized everything from cell phones to jewelry. The crackdown is a sign of just how serious they are about the sale of counterfeit goods.
“Some items include Jewelry, watches, glasses, and cell phone cases,” said Dennis Ulrich, special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations.
Three agencies -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement--Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI worked together to track counterfeit merchandise coming in from china and being sold right here in Odessa.
"It was a yearlong investigation as with any investigation, it takes time to put the facts together before you move forward with a case,” said Ulrich.
The three men involved appeared in federal court this morning to face charges.
"The individuals arrested are Raja Zafar Iqbal, Javed Iqbal Raja, Muhammad Asif Raza, they are all charged with trafficking counterfeit goods or services,” Ulrich said.
It’s not yet known how much the fake goods were worth--but the FBI says its sale can have a big impact on businesses -- even here in the basin.
"It’s important they do that so we can have legitimate businesses be able to compete,” said one Odessa man.
Others weren't as surprised.
"You get what you pay for, so if you are paying so little it just might be fake and you might want to think twice about what you buy,” said an Odessa woman.
The FBI says they did not shut down the kiosks -- but did seize all counterfeit items.
Now we just received the arrest affidavit for the men involved.
According to that document, they bought more than $3 million dollars worth of counterfeit materials since 2001.
The men face up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $2 million dollars if convicted.